Q: I notice you guys never really mention doing dips for triceps. I know Mike Mentzer said that the parallel bar dip is one of the best triceps exercises—and he had some big arms with some of the biggest, most vascular tri’s I’ve ever seen from the “moderate-steroid era.” Do you consider dips a good triceps move?
A: Dips can work well as a compound, or midrange, exercise for triceps—in place of close-grip bench presses, for example…
The reason you rarely see dips in our triceps routines is that we often recommend wide-grip dips on chest day. When we use dips for pecs, we like some type of midrange pressing move to train tri’s, like close-grip DB bench presses.
But here’s something to think about: While Mentzer had great genetics for big arms, specifically triceps size, he also did a lot of machine pullovers, DB pullovers, and stiff-arm pulldowns for his lats…
One of the main functions of the beefy long head of the triceps is to assist your lats and teres muscle in pulling your upper arm down from an overhead position….
Those pullover-type exercises no doubt contributed greatly to Mentzer’s full, sweeping triceps development.
With that in mind, one of our favorite long-head supersets is DB pullovers and lying DB extensions—with the same dumbbells for both moves. A 3X or 4X sequence of that combo will pump and prime your tri’s to grow…
As for vascularity, supersets can enhance that too via engorgement and the development of new capillaries. Low body fat helps veins show as well, but you must have the genetic predisposition for veins near the skin’s surface.
So dips are great, but don’t forget some type of overhead pulling move for sweeping triceps fullness and shape.
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